California State University, Northridge student newspaper The Sundial won three prestigious journalism awards in June at the Los Angeles Press Club’s 2018 Southern California Journalism Awards: Best College Newspaper, Best News Website and a third-place win for student photographer Max Sullivan for Best Feature Photo.
The awards are given annually to student-run publications that have distinguished themselves from the competition. The Sundial won Best College Newspaper for its Nov. 1, 2017, issue, which included various stories on political polarization, cultural studies and student protests on campus.
Gretchen Macchiarella, publisher of the Sundial and professor in the Department of Journalism, lauded the CSUN student journalists for their accomplishments.
“Every student here produces,” Macchiarella said. “Whether it is talk radio, video or writing, the students work extremely hard to produce quality material. It is an understatement to say these students just work hard. They are full-time students who are juggling many different things in their life.”
A typical day at The Sundial is a hectic day, said Dede Ogbueze, editor-in-chief and journalism major.
“The day starts with a morning meeting,” Ogbueze said. “The staff gets together and discusses everything from story ideas, current events and what pieces need to be published.”
From their offices in Manzanita Hall, the students work like bees, constantly producing effective, quality work.
“The reporters and editors on staff last semester were committed, and I believe this is why we won this award,” said Ogbueze. “We were short-staffed and all the students are still learning as they go, but our staff tried extremely hard and always showed up where it counted.”
Sullivan, senior a double major in journalism and political science, placed third in the Best Feature Photo category for a series of photos he took of a homeless encampment on Nordhoff Street, near the 405 Freeway. His work portrayed the reality of homeless people’s lives during a time when police were escorting them out of their camps.
Sullivan said he wanted his photos to change many of the common misconceptions people have about the homeless.
“My goal when I shoot a photo is to capture a moment in time,” Sullivan said. “Being recognized for doing something you love is extremely humbling and a very proud moment. I want to shed light on a subject that people didn’t know about before.”
The awards have helped bolster The Sundial’s reputation as one of the best student-run newspapers in Southern California.
“These awards are wonderful for the [journalism] department. It’s a reminder to the students of something they already know,” Macchiarella said. “The competition only allows one edition to be submitted, so it sets a pretty high bar. I am honored to know that The Sundial was chosen.”